Buatsi overcomes a tough challenge and a thumb in the eye to stop Calic in Milton Keynes
Britain’s rising light-heavyweight star Joshua Buatsi had to weather a difficult early storm in the opening rounds against fellow unbeaten light heavyweight Marko Calic in Milton Keynes, but the Londoner ruthlessly stopped his foe in the seventh round as he made his comeback behind closed doors after a year out of the ring.
There was a sombre walkout from Buatsi as he took a knee during his entrance in support for the Black Lives Matter movement. And once into the fray he had to battle through the opening three rounds, with Calic landing powerful shots, shipping punishment with his nose bloodied.
Buatsi, though, showed his mettle as the fight wore on. The 2016 Olympic bronze medallist, unbeaten in 12 fights as a professional before this contest, rallied and began an assault on his rival at the end of the fifth round, punishing his opponent with a series of right hands.
Calic came back in the sixth, with Buatsi’s left eye puffy and closing, but in the seventh the Briton piled pressure back on the taller fighter, flooring him, with referee Michael Alexander giving Calic a standing count.
Buatsi leaped on Calic from that point, with the referee stopping the fight as the towel came in from the Croatian’s corner.
“He pushed me all the way, so credit to him” said Buatsi, who finished in ruthless fashion as the towel came. “It was a long time out, but I’m glad to be back and earn another victory.”
Earlier, unbeaten Chantelle Cameron was crowned the new WBC super-lightweight champion after a dominant points victory over Adriana Araujo, who was also unbeaten. The 29 year-old became Britain’s newest world champion as she controlled her experienced Brazilian opponent with ease to earn a unanimous decision with three shutout scores of 100-90.